Constitution

By Dalhousie Gazette Staff • October 15, 2012

Constitution of the Dalhousie Gazette Publishing Society

  1. The name of the society is the DALHOUSIE GAZETTE PUBLISHING SOCIETY.
  2. The objectives of the society are:
    1. To publish a student-run newspaper to report fairly and objectively on issues of importance and interest to students of Dalhousie, as well as the rest of the Halifax and Atlantic Canadian university community and community at large.
    2. To provide an open forum for free expression of ideas and opinion, in order to stimulate meaningful debate.
    3. To provide mentorship and training to student writers and journalists, through a skilled staff of university students and young professionals.

 

Definitions

  1. In these bylaws, unless there be something inconsistent therewith:
    1. “society” means The Dalhousie Gazette Publishing Society;
    2. “council” means the Council of the Dalhousie Student Union;
    3. “Dalhousie” means Dalhousie University
    4. “student union” means the Dalhousie Student Union;
    5. “publishing year” shall mean the period from the first week of September to the last week of April. Issues may be published at any time throughout this publishing year, or outside of it at the discretion of the staff.
    6. “section editor” means the head editor of a given content section of The Dalhousie Gazette. Sections are determined by the Society from time to time.
    7. “manager” means a member of the Gazette’s skilled production staff hired independently by the Editor-in-chief.
    8. “executive” means a group made up of the section editors, the editor-in-chief, and the managers.
    9. “newspaper” means The Dalhousie Gazette;
    10. “staff” means the executive as well as the staff contributors.
    11. “editor” means and indicates a section editor or an assistant editor.

Membership

  1. All Dalhousie and King’s students who pay a levy towards The Dalhousie Gazette are members of the society, and are able to vote in-person at all general meetings of the society by issuance of a ballot provided by the society.
    1. Any other person holding office as an editor or manager of the society will hold status as an honourary member of the society, but will not be able to vote at general meetings of the society.
    2. All members of the society are eligible to contribute articles, photos or other content for consideration by the staff of the newspaper. Additionally, the staff may occasionally consider worthy articles from the larger community for publication, provided they are relevant to the journalistic goals of the newspaper, as set out in section two of this document.
    3. All members of the society are eligible to run to be a member-at-large on the hiring committee of the newspaper.
    4. All professional managers of the newspaper will be hired by the president of the society.
    5. Any member who has contributed to the paper may apply for a manager position, however, the editor-in-chief may hire the strongest managerial candidates, regardless of membership in the society.
    6. Any member who contributes five articles, photos, comics, or creative submissions in any publishing year, or who has contributed ten articles, photos, comics, or creative submissions in total shall be considered staff contributors and will be identified as such in their bylines, unless they also hold a higher position (such as a columnist or beat reporter, as decided by the Section Editors) within the paper.
    7. Any staff contributor may apply for consideration for any Section Editor position, for selection via a hiring committee, providing that staff contributor will be a member of the Dalhousie Student Union or a King’s Students’ Union member during the publication term when he or she will serve as an editor.
    8. The section editors shall, together with the editor-in-chief and managers, form the executive of the society. At least one executive must be a Dalhousie student and a signing authority.
      1. The Editor-in-chief shall act as president of the society.
      2. The business manager shall act as treasurer of the society.
      3. A secretary will be nominated from amongst the section editors.
    9. Any member may apply for consideration as Editor-in-chief for the next publishing year, for selection via a hiring committee, providing that the member has been an editor within the last three years, and that the member will be a member of the Dalhousie Student Union or the King’s Students’ Union during the publication term when he or she will serve as editor-in-chief. Additionally, no editor-in-chief may hold a position on the Dalhousie Student Union council, the Dalhousie Board of Governors, or the Dalhousie Senate during the publication term for which he or she is editor-in-chief.
    10. In the event that vacant positions cannot be filled, whether because of a lack of required qualifications as per sections 4.6 and 4.9, or for any other reason, the editor-in-chief, in consultation with the executive, shall accept general applications for the position, and convene a hiring committee to determine the most suitable candidate, in accordance with section 17 of this document.

 

Finances

  1. The fiscal year of the Society shall be the period from May 1 to April 31 of the following calendar year.
  1. The Society must be audited by the vice-president (finance) of the Dalhousie Student Union each academic year before receiving its levy. There must be at minimum three signing officers of the society, two of whom will be the business manager and the editor-in-chief. A third signing officer will be nominated by the incoming executive at the beginning of the fiscal year.
    1. Each cheque issued by the society must be signed by at least two signing officers.
    2. A signing officer may not sign a cheque made out to him or herself.
  2. A budget, including salaries and honouraria, will be determined by the editor-in-chief based on consultation between the outgoing editor-in-chief and the business manager at the beginning of the fiscal year.

 

Meetings

  1. The annual general meeting of the society shall be held each year before the second week of April.
  2. A special general meeting of the society may be called by the editor-in-chief at any time and must be called if requested in writing by at least 50 members of the society.
  3. At least one week’s notice of a general meeting, specifying the place, day and hour of the meeting and, in the case of special business, the nature of such business, shall be given to members by an advertisement in the newspaper.
  4. At each annual general meeting of the society, the following items of business shall be dealt with:
    1. minutes of the preceding meeting; consideration of the financial statements, including balance sheet and operating statement and the report of the auditors thereon;
    2. hiring of editorial candidates in accordance with section 17 of this document.
    3. annual report of the editor-in-chief, which can be submitted to all members of the society electronically or delivered orally
  5. The membership at a general meeting may:
    1. amend the constitution in accordance with section 16 of this document;
    2. conduct such other business of the society as the membership requires subject only to the provisions for impeachment as specified herein. All other business requires a majority vote to be formally ratified and adopted by the Society.
  6. No business shall be transacted at any general meeting (annual or special, regardless of its reason for being convened) of the society unless a quorum consisting of 25 members of the society is present at the commencement of such business.
  7. If within forty-five minutes from the time appointed for a meeting a quorum of members is not present, the meeting, if convened upon the requisition of the members, shall be dissolved.
  8. If quorum for a general meeting cannot be reached on the second attempt to do so, the executive shall decide on any relevant business.

 

Amendments to the Constitution

  1. Amendments of more than five clauses of the constitution must be proposed in writing to the executive as a whole, via the editor-in-chief, at least two months prior to any general meeting. Any proposal to change the constitution made less than two months prior to the general meeting will not be presented or voted on.
    1. The editor-in-chief, upon receipt of a proposal for changes to the constitution, shall convene a working group of the executive to draft a new constitution for the society. This working group must meet at least four times and must produce a written report outlining the changes to the constitution, for presentation at the general meeting.
    2. The re-drafted constitution will only be sent to a general meeting if the re-drafted changes are passed by a two-thirds vote of the executive at least one week prior to the general meeting.
    3. At any general meeting of the society a motion for emergency amendment to the constitution may be made, in writing, to the chair of the general meeting and the editor-in-chief at any time. Each motion for emergency amendment may not affect more then five specific clauses of the constitution.
      1. Any motion may be passed with a majority of the members present to vote as long a quorum is reached as per section 13.

Hiring

  1. A hiring committee shall be formed annually to fairly and democratically select the most skilled applicant for the positions of Section Editor and Editor-in-chief. The position(s) the hiring committee seeks to fill shall be declared in the motion to convene the committee.
    1. The hiring committee shall be struck annually at the annual general meeting, and will stand ad-hoc throughout the year should any hiring matter arise.
    2. The hiring committee shall consist of:
      1. The current Editor-in-chief
      2. A member of the faculty of the University of King’s College School of Journalism, decided on by the executive.
      3. Two member-at-large who are not a candidate for any other position on the newspaper, nominated and elected by show of hands at a general meeting of the society. In the event that a member-at-large is incapacitated or unavailable during the year, a special general meeting shall be called to nominate and elect a replacement, who shall stand for the rest of the year.
      4. The current relevant section editor. In practice, this means that if the hiring committee is considering applications for the position of news editor, the current news editor will sit on the hiring committee. The current relevant section editor will only sit on the hiring committee for the selection of that relevant position.
    3. In the event that the current editor-in-chief is a candidate for any other position at the newspaper, the current business manager shall replace him or her on the hiring committee. In the event that the business manager is also re-applying, the executive shall nominate another executive member to the hiring committee.
    4. In the event that the current relevant section editor is running for any other position at the newspaper, he or she shall be replaced first by the relevant section’s assistant editor, then by another member of the executive, nominated by that body, who also meets the conditions within this clause. In the event that such a person cannot be found, a second member-at-large shall be nominated at the annual general meeting to fill the position on the hiring committee.
    5. Any hiring committee member who has a real or perceived conflict of interest must raise this with the executive before the committee meets and must remove him or herself from the voting process for the position in question.
    6. The make-up of the hiring committee shall be confirmed annually at the annual general meeting, and at any special general meeting where the committee is relevant, or where request for its make-up is made by anyone present.
    7. Additionally, the body of an annual general meeting may call on any member of the hiring committee to answer questions of conflict of interest. Should the answer be unsatisfactory, the member may make a motion for that hiring committee member to be replaced in accordance with the replacement procedure outlined in sections 16.6.4 and 16.6.5. This motion must have a seconder and must be approved via a majority vote.
    8. The hiring committee will meet and select a candidate no more than two weeks after the annual general meeting at which the committee is struck. All candidate applications must be submitted at or before the annual general meeting.
    9. The society shall undertake to publish the names of all candidates for all positions, as well as those candidates selected, on its website once the hiring committee has submitted its final selection and report to the editor-in-chief. The reasons for decisions of the hiring committee shall not be made public.
    10. In the event that an editor resigns or vacates the position during the publishing year, the editor-in-chief shall reconvene the currently standing hiring committee and accept applications for the position.
    11. In the event that a vote of the hiring committee is split, the current editor-in-chief shall make the final decision.

Managers

  1. The editor-in-chief shall hire a business manager, an office manager, an art director and a photo manager annually. Job titles and descriptions may be changed from time to time by the executive or the editor-in-chief.
  2. Managers shall be signed to contracts that fall within the publication year.
    1. The business manager contract may begin at the beginning of the Gazette’s fiscal year and end at the end of the publication year. In some cases, other managers may need to be hired in advance of the publication year. In these cases, the editor-in-chief should create a brief written statement of cause, to be included in any audit of the Society’s finances.
  3. The editor-in-chief shall provide each manager with a job description and contract outlining all society policies and expectations with regards to performance, discipline and compensation, as well as any other contractual concerns of the parties. The original, signed copy of this document shall be retained by the society, in the care of the editor-in-chief. A copy may be given to the manager in question.

 

Editors

  1. The editor-in-chief shall provide each editor with a contract outlining all expectations of the position with regards to performance, discipline and compensation, as well as any other contractual concerns of the parties. The original, signed copy of this document shall be retained by the society, in the care of the editor-in-chief. A copy may be given to the editor in question.
    1. Editors shall be signed to contracts for the duration of the publication year.
  2. In addition to the responsibilities held with editors, the editor-in-chief shall be responsible for:
    1. maintaining professional relations within the staff;
    2. maintaining amicable relations with other societies within the union;
    3. the content, layout, training of staff and general management of the newspaper;
    4. calling regular staff meetings which will decide editorial positions, content and other matters concerning the newspaper, as well as chairing these meetings in a fair and democratic fashion;
    5. providing direction and guidance to the managers, and communicating expectations, changes and decisions to them in a clear and prompt manner;
    6. presenting a written annual report to the annual general meeting of the society;
    7. ratifying The Dalhousie Gazette Publishing Society as a society of the Dalhousie Student Union before September 30 of each academic year;
    8. keeping the active profiles of the society up to date;
    9. penalizing or dismissing editors and managers provided they violate the responsibilities set out annually in the contracts, and/or the ethics code and disciplinary policies set out and made available online;
    10. delegating and assigning all tasks within the Society so that duties are performed in a timely and effective manner;
    11. providing constructive and helpful mentorship to all editors and contributors should it be needed;
    12. identifying key coverage areas and opportunities for the newspaper, and planning said coverage across sections when necessary;
    13. acting to resolve internal conflicts of the newspaper or the society, and referring these to Dalhousie Student Union counselling when necessary, in accordance with the discipline policy;
    14. acting as a public head of the society for political and recruitment efforts; championing the reputation and role of the Gazette within the Dalhousie and Halifax communities;

 

Impeachment 

 23 An editor-in-chief may be impeached for consistently or seriously failing to fulfill any of the duties outlined in section 22 of this document, as well as for any serious violation of the discipline policy or the ethics code.

24 The editor-in-chief may be impeached upon the recommendation of the two-thirds of the executive.

25 The editor-in-chief may be impeached upon receipt of a petition signed by no less than 800 registered members of the Dalhousie Student Union. In this event, the editor-in-chief must forward the petition to the executive and discuss it at the next opportunity. Should two-thirds of the executive present uphold the petition, the editor-in-chief shall be impeached.

26 In the event that an editor-in-chief is impeached, an interim editor-in-chief shall be nominated by the executive within three days, and approved by two-thirds of that body. This interim editor-in-chief should be announced online as soon as possible after selection.

26.1       Within four weeks of the impeachment, the executive must call a special general meeting of the society where a hiring committee shall be convened to select a new editor-in-chief, exercising the clauses of section 17 of this document to replace the outgoing Editor-in-chief’s seat on the hiring committee.

  • http://dalgazette.com Dylan Matthias

    I’d just like to add a couple of quick notes here:

    Anyone who has questions about this document or who would like to propose amendments should get in touch with us as soon as possible before out AGM on Feb. 15. Check the Contact Us page for details.

    We’ve put a lot of work into this document and we’ve taken the time to get it right. We’ve been drafting and brainstorming since November. At our AGM we’ll do a run-through of the key changes and take questions on how it will work in practice. You can also feel free to ask questions in the comments here and I’ll respond to them as best I can. We want this constitution to be a clean, clear document outlining how the newspaper works as a society and as a media organization.

    We look forward to seeing everyone on the 15th!

    Dylan Matthias,
    Editor-in-chief